Sunday, May 18, 2014

Minecraft Party

For my daughter's 8th birthday we did a Minecraft theme.  She is absolutely obsessed with Minecraft right now so even though I wanted something a little easier to pull off, who can argue with such a sweet girl?  As popular as Minecraft is, you can't just pop down to the local party store for some Minecraft themed supplies.  So, even though I am pretty challenged in the arts and crafts department, this party had a ton of DIY elements.
 Here are my 2 favorite elements that we made:  A Pin the Tentacle on the Ghast game and a Ghast pinata.
The Ghast Game was easy enough, just some poster board with a Ghast face drawn on it. Luckily B is a pretty good artist so he handled that.  We attached all but one on the tentacles, the last one was the one the guests had to pin on.  The Pinata was a little tougher. We ended up using an empty Veggie Straw box, wrapped it in white paper and the Birthday Girl drew the Ghast face on it. I reinforced the box with a little duct tape, maybe too much. The box was tough!  The kids had fun trying, though!

We also played a rousing game of Minecraft Bingo. I purchased the digital files for the Bingo game on Etsy and had them printed at Staples, which only cost about $10 so I was pleased.  Add some rocks from the Dollar Tree to use as Bingo markers and we were all set.  All of the guests got Bingo eventually, and as a prize they got some yummy Rock candy!

I also purchased some Minecraft stickers on Etsy to decorate the Favor bags. The bags were 3 for $1 at the Dollar Tree, another good deal!

There's a great local wholesale candy store but regular people can shop there too, so in keeping with the Minecraft theme, we had some bowls of loose Rock Candy.  Hopefully the parents forgive me for loading the kids up with so much sugar!

Finally the cake.  I thought about hiring someone to do a really cool Minecraft cake, or buying an edible image from Etsy. But, the birthday girl doesn't even like cake and has several food allergies so I decided to just keep it simple.  One square cake and lots of cupcakes later, and we have a Ghast cake!

 So that was our very low budget, but very fun Minecraft Party!  I think all of our guests had fun, and our whole family enjoyed putting the party together!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Worcester Ecotarium

The day we went to the Worcester Ecotarium happened to be the one free day a year. We didn't know this until we got there, but it sure explained the tons of people that were there on a random Friday in the summer!
So although we were a bit disappointed by all of the crowds, we still had a good time. There were so many fun things there for the kids to explore in the actual museum. As fun as that was, I think we enjoyed the outside portion the most. There are nice paved walkways on the grounds and you will come across an animal exhibit (Like otters!) or a pond or a cool tree. The kids LOVED the train ride.It was about a 10 minute ride around the Ecotarium grounds.  We saw several families enjoying picnics at the many picnic tables scattered around the grounds.  Some day we'll have to go back and spend a little more time there when it's not so crowded. We didn't get to play in the grossology exhibit, for example! 

playing shuffle board in the giant games area!

looking at interesting specimens

fog machine

what's it like to be a groundhog?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary

Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary in Norton, MA is an absolutely wonderful place to take the kids. We have gone so many times and always have a great time. The farm is home to rescued animals that have been abandoned or abused. But it is not a sad place at all, you can see how much care goes in to giving the animals a happy life. For the most part the animals wander around the farm, which is set back from the road in a wooded area. As you walk along the paths you can pet and interact with cats, dogs, goats, alpacas, sheep, chickens, geese, pigs and much more. There are all kinds of birds there, some are in pens but many wander around. There are several horses too. My kids really like the cat house where there are sooo many cats hanging out, and the cute bunny hutch that looks like an old fashioned log cabin. Aside from the animals there are walking trails in the woods, a picturesque pond, a great all wood play structure with slides and swings, a small gift shop and more. We love to go in the fall when there is often a bonfire going which adds a pleasant aroma to the visit. Be sure to check their web site because they have many special events throughout the year, such as a friendly haunted wood at Halloween, Easter egg hunts, a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast and summer time outdoor movies. We have never needed to use restrooms there but they appear to be like outhouses. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids, but they make it clear that all the proceeds go back to the sanctuary. They do have Birthday Parties on weekends but we have never found it to be overly crowded. Winslow Farm is just a really charming, unique place for a family outing. It won't break the bank and you don't need a ton of time to spend, you can easily see and do everything in an hour or so.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Harvard Museum of Natural History

We recently went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. It was actually really interesting, even to A, who isn't even 2 yet. We walked from our hotel which was quite a distance, but it was a nice day and we enjoyed seeing some of Harvard's beautiful campus. We even found Pooh's house!
The museum itself is in an older building and although there were signs for a handicapped/stroller entrance we couldn't find it. We went through the main door and left the stroller in the designated stroller parking area. After going up one flight of stairs to the admission desk, you still have to climb 2 more flights to get to the museum itself. We started out in the Gem room, which was amazing. Both girls really enjoyed looking at all of the gems and rocks. There was a staff member there who talked to us a little about geodes and both girls got to hold and examine a real geode. Next we went to the dinosaur fossil area which was interesting, as was the "stuffed animal" section. That's what we called it anyway, to calm the worries of C. Although she got freaked out when she thought she saw a moose move. But of all the things we saw there, the kids, and my husband, liked the bugs the best! Some of them were pretty grotesque, but alot of the displays were actually artistically done and very pretty. All in all it was a fun place to visit and I think even pretty young toddlers would like it. It is small and a bit cramped, and large strollers are not allowed in. It was also pretty hot in the museum, and I wish we had checked our coats.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Classic Pooh Party

I thought I would do something a little different and do a post about A's 1st birthday party. It was a ton of work but my favorite one to plan and execute. I had a ton of help from both Grandmothers thank goodness!
The party was a Classic Winnie the Pooh picnic. Most of the stuffed animals and other decorations was stolen from the girls' room. I bought the homey pops and honey straws from a local bee keeper Annie B. The confetti and gift tags came from Etsy. I think it came out pretty great!

My husband made the pin the tail on the Tigger game, which was a big hit! The cake was done by my cousin Shari Carley. The banner and balloons were found on Ebay.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Capron Park Zoo

Capron Park Zoo is an absolute gem. i feel really fortunate that we live close enough to take frequent trips. In recent years the zoo has added some really great new stuff. For instance, the new splash pad is awesome! It's big enough that lots of kids can have fun, but not so big that you lose track of your kids. There are low walls around the perimiter for parents to sit on and relax a bit. There are 2 little changing cubicles which is great, in case you are heding home and want to change out of your wet stuff. We always try to do the splash pad at the end of our trip, I always end up almost as soaked as the girls!
Capron also built a great lemur exhibit recently.  There is a long walkway out onto a small pond, and the Lemur's live on islands on either side of the walkway. There are a ton of ducks on the pond too, and bring quarters to buy some food to throw to the ducks! (you'll need quarters to get Llama food and for the small rides and carousel).
Capron Park is a small zoo, but there are many great animals to see. We really enjoy seeing the antics of the Otters, the Kangaroos and the Lions. Just outside the zoo itself there is a decent sized park with play structures for both big and little kids. I do wish the playground was fenced in, it's pretty open to traffic so you do have to keep a close eye on the kids. You can also bring a picnic, there's a ton of open lawn as well as some covered gazebos. There is a small concession stand that sells drinks and Ice Cream. As far as I know there is only one bathroom location, which is near the beginning of the zoo, so keep that in mind.
All in all, Capron Park Zoo is a great place to take the kids and spend a morning or afternoon. Admission is not too bad and it is well worth the price!

The pics are form different visits over the years, just to show you all the different things to do and see.